When the gull-wing doors raised on the swoopy Lexus LF-30 Electrified concept car during its Tokyo Motor Show debut late last month, two words in bright blue letters could be seen on the car's threshold: "Solid State."
It was further evidence that Toyota is on track to keep a promise it made in 2017 to have solid-state batteries on the road by the mid-2020s.
These batteries use solid materials not only for the electrodes, but also for the electrolyte, normally a liquid or gel.
According to news reports, Shigeki Terashi, chief technology officer, told reporters before the Tokyo show that next year, Toyota will debut at the Tokyo Olympics a people-mover concept vehicle powered by solid-state batteries. Toyota, he said, expects solid-state batteries to begin mass production around 2025.
In the race to replace lithium ion in the next generation of electric car batteries, solid-state technology is gaining a lot of traction, not only at Toyota Motor Corp., but also with many other major automakers and battery suppliers, such as Japan's Panasonic Corp. and South Korea's LG Chem. Solid state just may have the magic formula that enables an almost seamless transition from internal-combustion engines to electric motors. Researchers know that to essentially replace gasoline the future electric car battery — regardless of its chemistry — must:
- Have immense power and density
- Be capable of ultrafast recharging
- Dramatically reduce the danger of fires
- Last the life of the vehicle
- Cost far less than lithium ion does today
- Affordably scale up to high-volume production.